We all know that feeling when a friend or family member phones to say they’ll be there in half an hour. The house looks like a bomb site but there’s no putting them off. You have thirty minutes and the clock is ticking. Go!
First Things First
Weather permitting, open the windows to air the rooms. Any musty smells will dissipate before they arrive. Light a scented candle or oil burner to fragrance the rooms. More persistent odours may need a quick squirt with air freshener. You can also buy fresheners for upholstery. This is useful if you’re in a hurry and your furniture and curtains are clinging onto food smells. Always check the manufacturer's instructions first.
When you’re opening the windows upstairs, check the WC and bathroom. Remember, the clock is ticking and so you don’t have time to go to town. Put some toilet cleaner around the loo for instant freshness. Run the bath and shower and wipe around the sink to remove any marks. Empty the bathroom bin. Don’t worry about taking out all your cleaning products. You can clean properly later.
Back downstairs clear any clutter and discarded pots. You don’t have time to put everything away and so place items into a box and then put them somewhere out of sight.
I would normally suggest dusting first but we’re running out of time. The floor will be more noticeable if it hasn’t been hoovered. If you have rugs and mats take them to the back door and shake them vigorously. Will that suffice? If not, vacuum over them. Run the vacuum cleaner over any areas your guest will see. For example, the hall, bathroom and the living room floor.
If you have time, run the attachments over the top of the sofa and chairs. If not, put the vacuum cleaner away and wipe over them with a damp cloth. The same is true of the stairs. You don’t have time to brush or vacuum. Pick up any visible lint and give the rest a quick wipe with your cloth.
When you have more time, take a look at these great floor care tips.
You don’t have time to dust the whole house. This is not a spring clean. Look for obvious signs and run a cloth over it. Don’t forget areas like the TV screen that show up dust when the sun shines. Think about where your guest will be sitting and sit in that space. Which areas are obvious from that position? Pay close attention to those.
Phew! I wouldn't worry too much about the kitchen. Put the kettle on and empty a few biscuits or snacks onto a plate. While you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, stack any dirty dishes neatly. This is just in case your guest wanders into the kitchen to give you a hand.
If you have time, refill any flower vases, spruce up your arrangements and throw away any dead petals or leaves.
You’re done! With any minutes remaining, sit down and catch your breath. You can greet your guest with tea and biscuits and a clean (ish) and fragrant home.